Brand switching and consumer identification with brands in the smartphones industry

Dominic Appiah, Wilson Ozuem, Kerry E. Howell, Geoff Lancaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brand loyalty literature has mainly focused on how brands perform under normal market conditions. As the business environment grows more complex, globalised, and innovative, market disruptions become more prevalent. Taking a cognition‐based approach, this paper proposes that customers identify with brands to satisfy self‐definitional needs. A social constructivist perspective, using an inductive and case study strategy, was used. Data generation was based on purposeful sampling, and participants were chosen on the basis of their “lived” experience with the use of smartphones. Four major themes were identified in the purchase of smartphones: identity, satisfaction, brand loyalty, and brand switching. Participants' views suggested that this provides them with a sense of purpose and meaning, defining who they are and why they behave in specified ways in society, which increases their self‐esteem. Brand switching occurs when customers are motivated to review available alternatives in the marketplace due to a change in competitive activities. Socially, switching occurs when a customer's belief in a brand is externally influenced within the social setting. When the boundary between the “in‐group” and the “out‐group” is impermeable and changing, group membership is not realistic; social mobility is not a viable strategy to cope with identity threats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-473
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number6
Early online date27 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Dec 2019


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